2010-10-21 01:05:02Skeptic argumentation in popular and scientific literature
Ari Jokimäki


Here is an idea of a research project that is very suitable to SkS:

- Select a sample of skeptical scientists who write both in popular and scientific literature (hmm... name one skeptic scientist who doesn't publish a lot in the popular media - that is their domain ;) ).

- Go through the writings of selected skeptics and count the false claims they make in each writing.

- Quantify the fraction of false claims for each skeptic both in scientific and popular literature. The quantification is possible to do for example by word/sentence count or something like that.

False claims might be difficult to detect, but John has created quite a good database for them so we can use that. Claims could be categorized for example to demonstratably false / against the current mainstream science / presenting an option as true when mainstream science is not certain on the issue / over-emphasizing uncertainties / ...

We could also estimate some kind of denialism index for them based on the five characteristics of denialism given in this paper:


2010-10-21 02:26:01That's a good one


A special case is Lindzen: In his scientific writings, he promotes an idea (the "iris") that is controversial but not crazy.

 But in his Wall-Street-Journal Op-Eds, he says things that would disqualify him from the classroom: Just flat-out wrong.

Another interesting case: William Gray (featured earlier) did cite some literature in support of his theory: It was State of Fear, by Crichton. Astounding, to see an eminent climate scientist citing science fiction as his foundation!

2010-10-21 08:27:40
Rob Painting
Oh boy!, now that is guaranteed to generate attention. The skeptic hordes will flock en masse to defend the few skeptic climate scientists. 
2010-10-21 23:04:51Contradictions
James Wight

Another category could be claims which contradict each other.
2010-10-24 20:20:37
Ari Jokimäki


James: "Another category could be claims which contradict each other."

Could be, although I was looking for category scheme covering different levels of wrongness of the arguments. Your category in the context of this project would be such that claim itself might be correct but there should be another claim from the same person contradicting with this claim.

2010-12-10 05:27:08
Bob Guercio
Robert Guercio

I have trouble with this because it gives all these skeptics credibility.  Right now since you won't find any of there writings in peer reviewed journals, at least I think so, they have no credibility and that should be our message to the world.

We shouldn't be challenging their science.  We should be challenging their credibility.



2010-12-11 06:35:49



Unfortunately, Lindzen and Christy are actually active professionals in the field. Gray is retired or otherwise superannuated.

And there's always Roger Pielke, Sr.